If you’re wondering why you feel scattered, lethargic, or like you are always “on,” you may want to evaluate these adult ADHD symptoms to see if they match up to what you are experiencing.
The acronym ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Some who have this do not exhibit the typical signs of hyperactivity, especially adults. While some adults were diagnosed as children, others have ADHD but were overlooked for this disorder in school. Some of the symptoms that are often seen in children can also be masked as a person ages.
Typical hallmarks of ADHD include the inability to pay attention or the ability to focus on one particular hobby or talent, but nothing outside it, for long.
7 Adult ADHD Symptoms
Before you dismiss your symptoms as aging or lack of patience, read the seven adult ADHD symptoms to see where your spectrum of symptoms falls.
1) Adults with ADHD may experience restlessness or impulsivity. If you find it tough to calm down, you’re quick to reach for a solution that doesn’t necessarily fix the problem, or you act or speak before you think, it could be among other adult ADHD symptoms.
2) If you struggle to get organized in all spheres of life on a regular basis, you might have ADHD. This can become problematic even more for adults because what you juggle has higher stakes. If paying the bills, managing your household to-do list, staying on top of work-related deadlines, and helping your child with her homework seem like too much, consider the other symptoms to see if ADHD may be the source of the issues.
3) Poor time management skills can be devastating. If you find it difficult to judge how long it will take you to pump gas, drive to the venue, find a parking spot, and get home in time for picking up your child from soccer, you may be experiencing a symptom of something even larger. These are just a few examples of how difficulty in evaluating your time can wreak havoc on your personal and professional life.
Writing a report for your boss, taking four more calls, covering your co-worker’s tasks since he is out sick, and shopping for groceries on your lunch break can all add up to a significant time expense. But if you consistently under-assess how long these combined tasks will take to complete, you may need to speak to a counselor about ADHD.
4) Difficulty listening intently is a common symptom of ADHD. Learning the art of reflective listening is a skill from which all adults can benefit. However, adults with ADHD may particularly struggle with this skill due to attentiveness issues. This can then cause relational issues in a marriage, at work, and with children, if you are missing the messages they’re trying to convey.
5) Trouble following through on tasks may be one of your symptoms. For example, your neighbor may ask you to feed the cat and check the mail while he is on vacation, and you do so for the first two days. But keeping that going over the course of a 10-day vacation may be difficult, and your mounting work deadlines don’t help. Follow-through can be a struggle for those with adult ADHD.
6) Adults with ADHD may have difficulty relaxing. If you find it tough to unwind after a long day, or you charge around the office like a bull in a china shop, it may be time to ask yourself, “Is this indicative of something more?” Some words that others may use to describe you include intense or edgy, and it’s not because you’re unkind to them — but it may appear that you have only two gears: go and go faster.
7) You may struggle to prioritize your tasks. Often, adults with ADHD choose to spend their time on tasks that someone else may consider irrelevant in comparison with a work deadline or helping a child with his or her homework. Spending too much time on something that isn’t tied to a timeline, has no bearing on work or family, or could have been done later is a cue that prioritization is difficult.
Adult ADHD symptoms can persist and bleed into multiple areas of life, too, so check to see if priorities are challenging for you in multiple environments.
One or two of these symptoms alone does not signify that you have adult ADHD. But if you find that these adult ADHD symptoms are your experience most of the time in multiple areas, you may want to consult a professional counselor to walk you through your next steps.
What to Do If You Think You Have ADHD
The first step to take is to look for a licensed, professional counselor who has experience diagnosing and treating ADHD, specifically in adult patients. Because some of the symptoms differ in children than in adults, it is important to find someone who has experience with adult patients.
Second, have hope. While it is true that adults who have ADHD tend to struggle relationally, financially, and in decision-making, a diagnosis also means you can get the treatment you need to live a responsible and enjoyable life.
Third, consider your medical and childhood history. Were you exposed to lead as a child? Did your birth mother drink alcohol, use drugs, or smoke heavily during her pregnancy with you? Does a parent, brother, or sister have ADHD? Do you have another learning disability or struggle with anxiety? All of these can be additional risk factors for ADHD.
Fourth, find a Scripture passage to help you digest the time between wondering if you have ADHD and having a diagnosis. Learning verses that apply to health situations, especially the unknown, can be freeing. Keep John 10:10 in mind and remember what was meant for your harm can be used by God to glorify His name and lead you to the help you need.
Fifth, set up a time to meet with a trusted counselor and talk through your questions about ADHD. It can be overwhelming to learn information upfront, so consider taking a close friend or family member with you to the appointment so that he or she can help with symptom identification, mental health questions, and family history.
Counseling for Adult ADHD
Know that you are made in the image of God and that is to be celebrated. As you learn more about adult ADHD symptoms, you will become your own advocate. Yet God is the ultimate advocate for His children. Remember, Deuteronomy 3:22 promises that the Lord Himself will go ahead and fight for you. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to a counselor who can help you navigate this journey with greater hope and encouragement.
“Snowy Mountain”, Courtesy of Mike Newbry, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Tree in Lake”, Courtesy of Casey Horner, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Crater Lake”, Courtesy of Porter Raab, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Sunlight on Mountains”, Courtesy of Patrick Hendry, , CC0 License